Saturday, March 26, 2011

Race to Walk

I have a sister.

Her name is Kathy.

She is 9 years older than me.

Other than that, we are twins.

Only her teeth are better and her handwriting is neater and she can carry a tune.

She has a secret crush on Bono (or is it Sting?), is double-jointed and has a capped front tooth, compliments of me.

Her hair is slightly darker than mine, and we gain weight in the same places.

Her nickname in high school was “Booger”. I am a little weirded out by that.

She makes up funny rhymes, can't make a decision, can keep a secret and has an irritating affection for animals.

Just saying....

I am so lucky she is mine. She has always loved me.

We never went through the mutual sister hatred that has been prevalent (at times) between my daughters.

We just took on, silently agreed upon, the fact that she was the big sister and I wasn't and this has always worked out.

She taught me pig-Latin. That is, she taught me after it was no longer useful as a way to talk about me when I was in the same room.

She produced miniature Miss America pageants, where, duh, I won Miss America. She did my hair and make-up, sang the theme song and was genuinely happy that I won.

She plucked my eyebrows, made me my first martini, took me to Europe and told me the facts of life....not necessarily in that order.

After looking through years of old photos, I am also convinced that Kathy and I were put on earth to support each other through bad fashion and bad hair.

I love Kathy.

She was a cheerleader in high school, president of her sorority while at Lenior Rhyne College, an elementary school teacher for 20 years, married for more years than that to this guy, Ted. She has traveled a good part of the world.

Did I mention that she speaks pig-Latin?

In 2006, Booger suffered a spinal cord injury.

They call it T8.

Technically, it means she has a SCI of the eighth thoracic vertebra.

Not so technically, it means she has a loss of mobility, sensation and feeling.

She gets around in a wheel chair.

I don’t really want to talk about it. Or write about it.

Because, I don’t want to diminish or misrepresent what it is like to live her daily life.

I know that what we consider a “no-brainer”, a simple task, is most likely an obstacle to her.

I know she lives with pain and all sorts of life-interrupting side effects from the medications she needs to take.

She is my hero.

Real life.


She isn’t a complainer. She is downright cheery and upbeat.

She has learned to drive an adapted car. She plays bridge, goes to book club, attends a support group, does her laundry, shops, cooks, reads and all that other stuff we upright walkers do.

But it takes a lot of time and effort.

She loves to work out and drives herself to a special gym, run by special people. I want to put the link here. It is called Race to Walk. Read about it. You can see Kathy under “clients” – she is Kathy E.

She knows more about exercise physiology than anybody I know. She could lift Arnold Schwarzenegger over her head and throw him over your house.

So, Kathy, I am running the Cooper River Bridge Run for you.

This year, 2011, is dedicated to you.

Because you can’t run it and I don’t know any other way to get you over that long bridge other than by carrying you with me – in my heart.

Every step of the way, I will be thinking of you and praying for you. Thanking God for you and your amazing sister-ness and your indomitable spirit.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Charting the Heavens

Driving home this evening....having been gone for 10 hours....hectic pace....frantic thoughts....still more to accomplish....when all of the sudden....

My Father in heaven, He stopped me dead in my tracks!

Ah, be still my heart!

Besides no longer feeling alone, or lost or frantic, I immediately felt...convinced.

I was reminded of one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems that pretty much sums it up:

I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.

I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot,
As if the chart were given.

I hope that the glorious heavens will bless you, too, with the affirmation of the presence of God and bring you peace.

Right on time!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dedicated to Someone I Love

This is the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Charleston, South Carolina. Also known as the New Cooper River Bridge.

On April 2, 2011, I am going to run over this another 4.2 miles.

I don't really want to.

I am NOT the "exercise" type. I only play one on TV.

I promise.

I am the "steak and fries" type. And Chardonnay. And Scrabble on my iPad. And a good novel on a sandy beach.

This is the real me....

And this....
And this....

I am NOT one of those "I get such a high from running" that I drank the Koolaid people, either.

This race is fun, don't get me wrong. I feel wonderful....when it is over. And I go have a Bloody Mary, steak and fries at 10:00 am. Duh.

Every morning, from the moment I started training for this race, I have fought an internal battle with my lazy self. There is more whining going on in my head than Michael throws at me when he has to get out of bed in the morning for Sunday school.

Folks, that is A LOT of whining!!

The funny thing is, I have been covering this same self discipline philosophy in great detail, lately, with the Big Kids.

It goes like this:

Me - "You are old enough to realize that you are not going to magically lose weight or get a date or find a job or get good grades or save money."

Them - "Why not?"

Me - "Because in REAL LIFE, things don't just happen your way. You have to muster up the maturity and self discipline to go after whatever it is you want and take it! The time is NOW."

Scary, huh? I can be kind of scary.

So, I tell myself that I am old enough to realize that if I want to be healthy, still eat as much chocolate as I want and continue to wear a bathing suit at the beach, then I must muster up the maturity and self discipline to run.

Every step is hard.

I ran the Cooper River Bridge Run 3 years ago and my attitude was pretty much the same then as it is now.

It so happened that at that time, my father had just suffered a blood clot in his leg, was facing a possible amputation, contracted an infection and was really sick and barely able to walk.

I didn't tell a soul, but I dedicated my run to him.

Every miserable step of the way, I thought of him. I thought of how his feet were like stone and he had to give up driving a car. I thought about how important it is for me to not become a diabetic and how much he would want me to be healthy. Every stride was an act of love, every breath was done in prayer.

I prayed for him. For me.

It was an act of dedication but also of prayer and gratitude to God for all of it.

This worked. Really well.

I finished the race.

I didn't walk once - even when my heart was pounding so hard, I thought it would burst and my iPod volume was up as high as it could go. Even the Black Eyed Peas couldn't get me through it better than God and the thought of my sweet daddy!

This year, I am dedicating my training and completion of the 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run to someone else.

Keep checking in with my musings to find out who it is.

Question: What inspires you? What tiny seed inside you is really a spark that can ignite your soul? Make you run? Or lose weight or get a date or find a job or quit a bad habit?

See you on the pavement!


Saturday, March 12, 2011


Things that Michael likes to do:

Make Books:

This involves paper, a stapler, a pencil and interesting is sample (his punctuation).

This Story is About Michaels Life

by Michael Quinn

About my life. I have a family they love me very much. They can be really kimecletly out balens (chemically unbalanced) sometimes but I love them very much. My sisters and brothers they love me to but they can be a letel crazy. I mean crazy but I don't say it to them. I don't want to hurt there feelings. I love them very much. Thats my story. I hope you love your brothers and sisters also mom and dads no matter what. I hope you enjoy your life no matter what!!! Enjoy.

Make cup castles:

This involves using all my clean paper cups from the pantry. Michael says that he likes to make things that are "inventive and cool".

Ask Questions:

Have you ever seen a wild bear? Why is electricity dangerous? Can God change into an animal? Can I sleep in your bed tonight? Is a $5 bill more than 5 quarters? Can I have a snack? Are skittles bad for you? Will we know if a tornado is coming? Will you turn on the Wii? What was your favorite cartoon? Do I have to go on errands with you? Can I make a cup castle?

Make card houses:
This involves cards and makes me crazy. See above story about "kimecletly out balens" behavior. Over the years, we have acquired quite a collection of decks of cards. He uses them all. He doesn't sort them, count them and put them away, either. And he builds these on the kitchen counter.

Other things:

Eats bacon, talks, practices baseball, talks, dances, plays pirates, talks and continues to make things that are "inventive and cool" but that make his family "kimecletly out balens".

I guess he is doing his job as the 4th child!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oh, Baby!

My baby-sitter had a baby.

The only thing that could disrupt the time/space continuum more, would be my baby having a baby. I don't know what that feels like, because I haven't experienced that one yet...but my baby-sitter, having her own baby, definitely sent a little ripple through my soul.

I was just getting over the fact that I am not 25 years old anymore.

Yes, it took me 25 years to realize I wasn't 25 years old anymore.

Anybody with me on that one?

Back to my baby-sitter....well, she WAS my baby-sitter. Now she loves another.

When I was a "young" mother, finding a baby-sitter was like striking gold. The state of my social life was in direct correlation to whether or not I could find a baby-sitter. Mothers never shared and there were definite rules among friends about "borrowing" a babysitter - basically, you could call on a friend's baby-sitter for emergencies only and just once and then you sent your friend flowers or something.

As an "older" mother, finding a baby-sitter was a little different. Easier. My peers' children were generally old enough to be qualified for the job and since my friends were no longer in the baby business, they were happy to and clear.

Along came Callie.

Callie is an official member of my family. Forever.

And not just because she saved me from insanity and took my squalling baby and loved him as her own and let me drink beer in the Bahamas, either.

Well, maybe just a little.

Not really.

The part about her loving him as her own is true.

The part about beer in the Bahamas isn't true.

It was a Pina Colada - with a floater of Grand Marnier.

ANYWAY. I love Callie. Mike loves Callie. Michael loves Callie.

Michael calls her Cal-Cal.

Callie would hold him for hours. Literally. As in 5 hours straight. So he wouldn't cry, or wake up, or get cold or need anything.

And I could go....away. For 5 hours. Without holding him.

Can you see the perfection in this scenario?

By the way, I couldn't find any photographs of Callie holding Michael as a tiny baby. Although, she did, as I mentioned before. She did ALOT. My theory is that I was running out the door so fast and was too afraid to take an extra minute to snap a photo. They were desperate times!

Then, as the years rolled by, Callie did what most amazing, beautiful young women do....she went off to college and fell for another, more age appropriate male and married him.


Michael was the ring-bearer.

He wasn't dialed in to the fact that Cal-Cal had chosen another.

It was only going to get worse.

My baby-sitter had a baby.

Now, Callie is mom to Jack. And Jack is precious.

The only thing that rubs me a little is that my younger friend, Callie's mother, is a grandmother and I am NOT ready to have friends that are grandmothers. Especially younger friends. I am using the word young a lot in this blog.

I think I am running low on Retinol.

And my baby-sitter had a baby.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sharing Pleasures

I know, I know.

It has been a long time since you have heard from me.

Let's just say....I have been busy.

However, I have filed a lot of material to share, along with some photos, and will be filling you in as the days go by.

Briefly, let me say that some of my time (a lot of my time) was spent in the doctor's office....and there will be NO photos. Or explanation. I know you are grateful.

As the world turns, and as I have been pulling my car in and out and in and out and in and out of my driveway this last month, I have been settling my eyes and attention on this....

And just a little closer...

I think it is a Camellia Japonica "Miss Nellie Eastman"....but I might be wrong.

I call it "The Harriett". Because that is what it is. In my mind.

And you are all subject to my mind.

My gurlfriend, Harriett, gave this Camellia to me when my daddy died. I planted it. It has grown a good bit and man, is it blooming!

I think of Harriett and Daddy, every time I look at it. What a blessing.

I love the idea of "plant it forward" - sharing memories through gardening and creating a literal living history.

Over the years, I have been gifted with some memorable green things. In my first "starter" house, back in the middle ages, my brother-in-law (Bill) gave me a gardenia bush for my birthday. I planted it (on the south side of the house) and it thrived. It was quite large when we sold that house and moved on, but I still drive by when I am in town and I speak to that bush and say "you are mine".

Then, there were the iris that my sister-in-law, Lynda, gave me. They came from her grandmother's yard after she past away....and I planted them in my yard. I had to leave them, too. But they are still mine. When I see them blooming, I remember Lynda and Sadie.

As are the sweeps of daffodils, and the lilac bush and some others.

But now, in South Carolina, I have the Harriett.

Sharing our heritage - celebrations, commemorations, remembrances - with the gift of a beautiful garden ornament is a real treasure.

I love my Harriett - the plant and the woman. I am so glad for what I think of when I look at it.

I will leave you with these words:

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

~ Kahlil Gibran

Hey! Go dig in the dirt (or go to the local garden center). Take a cutting or a bulb or a bloom and deliver it to someone you love. It is a gift of immeasurable value.

Spring is around the corner....